Not to toot my own horn, but I have mastered the art of meeting the parents. You see, I grew up an only child, surrounded by adults. I only spent time with other children at school and thus quickly learned how to schmooze (and win over) even the most disapproving and austere of uncles, family friends, and teachers.
Little did I know that this life skill would serve me well once I entered the dating scene. Armed with a charming smile covered in a mother-approved shade of mauve (Bobbi Brown’s Creamy Lip Color in Italian Rose, if you’re curious), I survived – nay, conquered – the third degree. A few moms ended up liking me more than their sons did, as they kept in touch long after the relationship had ended. But being a conversationalist is not crucial to being a pro with parents. It’s all about looking the part.
I understand why you might be nervous about this big meeting – it could potentially make or break your partnership – but there’s no need to stress. Above all, you need to remember that confidence is key. An aggressive mom can sniff out weakness like a shark can sense blood. And we all know that an essential component of courage is style. Once you’ve picked out the perfect outfit to meet the family, it’s time to select the ideal beauty products for the occasion. Not sure whether nail art is appropriate? Nervous they won’t like your signature scent? I’ve got you covered. I guarantee that, if you follow these tips, your honey’s parents will find you as enchanting, pretty, and wonderful as he or she does!
- Focus on your best features. Maybe you have gorgeously glossy, thick hair that your significant other obsesses over. Perhaps batting your enormous eyelashes is what lured him in. Regardless of what your most alluring asset is, you should accentuate it with tasteful styling products and makeup. Not sure where to start? If you’ve got kinky strands, learn how to preserve the pattern of your beguiling curls to make sure they look their best. Play up your luscious lips with tips on how to pick the right lipstick for your skin tone. Make those brown eyes look even more incredible with shadow tutorials designed to make them pop. Like I said, confidence is key, and drawing attention to your favorite feature will make you stand taller and prouder. Parents notice that kind of poise!
- Do not test trends. If you’ve never rocked colored eyeliner, contoured your cheekbones, or tried strobing, tonight is not the time. Stick to what you know, even if that’s just a bit of bronzer [I’m addicted to Tarte Amazonian Clay Bronzer in Park Ave Princess ($30)], mascara, and a bit of fancy lip balm. That said, some moms can be enchanted by nail art. Try a more understated design like these sweet doilies or a classic french manicure. Know your audience.
- Get a good night’s rest the night before. I’m all for fun nights out, but you want to get your beauty sleep before meeting the parents. Your skin will look brighter and clearer, and any fine lines will look less pronounced when you’ve caught up on zzz’s. Try an overnight mask to really wake up with a refreshed glow! But if you still wake up looking sallow, try a color-correcting concealer to add luminosity to your complexion and hide dark circles.
- Wear mascara. Even if mascara isn’t part of your regular routine, slick some on (try a dark brown if black seems too intense). Mascara will open up your eyes and make them sparkle – perfect for long conversations with lots of eye contact. But don’t go overboard: there’s no need to apply falsies. It’s important to curl your lashes before applying any mascara. This step will make your peepers look extra large. If you have stubbornly straight lashes, heat your curler with a blow dryer first. This will act like a hot tool for your lids and hold the curl longer. Once your device is warm to the touch (not too hot – you don’t want to burn yourself!), position it at the base of your lashes, squeeze for five seconds, and release. Then brush on a mascara that will give you a doe-eyed look [try Lancome Hypnose Doll Lashes Mascara ($28)]. Use a metal lash comb like Tweezerman’s ($12) for a clump-free, defined fringe.
- Accentuate your cheeks with blush. No matter your skin tone, blush will liven up your complexion, making you look healthy and radiant . . . even if your nerves are making you look pale and feel nauseous.
- Don’t spritz on too much perfume. As lovely as your favorite tuberose- and vanilla-packed fragrance is, stow it away for another occasion. You don’t want to trigger your future in-laws’ allergies! Try wearing Kai’s lightly scented body lotion ($38) or a subtle, fresh-smelling hair spray like Ouai Soft Hairspray ($26) if you can’t leave the house without splashing on a scent.
- Book a blowout. Nothing puts a spring in my step like stepping onto the street sporting shiny, stylish strands. Family is sure to notice – after all, many moms and grandmas admire the flawless mane of Kate Middleton! But consider scheduling your appointment for the evening before – otherwise, you could risk being late if the salon is backed up. If you’re concerned it won’t look as sleek the next day, try these blowout-restoring tips.
- Brush and floss your teeth. Oral hygiene is always important, but foul breath will make far more of a bad impression than smudged eyeliner ever could. Tote this tiny breath spray from Hello! ($4) in your purse to mint up your mouth on the sly.
- Wear setting spray. One of my biggest beauty pet peeves is going in for a hug, then finding out my family member left foundation all over my clothing. While moms are big offenders of this sin, be the bigger person and do what you can to prevent smudgy mishaps. Setting spray will not only keep your makeup from rubbing off, but will help your look last longer. I’m a big fan of Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray ($30).
- Be true to yourself. If your everyday look is more Dita Von Teese than Betty Draper, then by all means, pop on your go-to red lip and cat eye. Nothing will make you feel more confident than your signature style.